Title Search vs Keyword Search: The Craziness of ?title_type= And ?genres=

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The two primary Search programs on IMDB.com are Title Search and Keyword Search. These are distinctly different pieces of software, written by different people, but perform largely the same function as one another.  The parameters they accept are largely the same, and the records they display are largely the same.  There are a few distinct differences, and I'll get to them.

But I want to point out one big old glaring difference between the two.  Under a Title Search a Feature Film is known as a "?title_type=feature", while under a Keyword Search a Feature Film is known as a "?title_type=movie", and they always a different number of results.  They are not different names for the same thing.

Let me start by showing this bit of deconstruction of the two search engines, and two prominent variables they accept.

https://www.imdb.com/search/title/?title_type=&genres=keywords=

title_type=

    feature  video  short  documentary  video_game
    tv_movie  tv_special  tv_short  tv_series  tv_miniseries  tv_episode
    
    (also accepted inputs from Keyword Search):  movie  videoGame
    tvMovie  tvSpecial  tvShort  tvSeries  tvMiniSeries  tvEpisode

genres=

    action  adult  adventure  animation  biography  comedy  crime  documentary
    drama  family  fantasy  film-noir  game-show  history  horror  music
    musical  mystery  news  reality-tv  romance  sci-fi  short  sport  talk-show
    thriller  war  western
    
    (adult and short are not advertised in the advanced search.)


https://www.imdb.com/search/keyword/?title_type=&genres=keywords=

title_type=  (CaSe SeNsItIvE)

    movie  video  short  videoGame
    tvMovie  tvSpecial  tvShort  tvSeries  tvMiniSeries  tvEpisode  
    
    (Title Search inputs are NOT accepted):  feature  documentary  video_game
    tv_movie  tv_special  tv_short  tv_series  tv_miniseries  tv_episode

genres=  (CaSe SeNsItIvE)

    Action  Adult  Adventure  Animation  Biography  Comedy  Crime  Documentary
    Drama  Family  Fantasy  Film-Noir  Game-Show  History  Horror  Music
    Musical  Mystery  News  Reality-Tv  Romance  Sci-Fi  Short  Sport  Talk-Show
    Thriller  War  Western
So you can use this as a quick reference guide to the lay of the land between these two searches.  By and large they are identical, but strangely, Keyword Searches cannot search for objects with a Title Type of Documentary, nor does it return the same list of Feature Films (=movie) that a Title Search displays for Feature Films (=feature).

As you can see, besides the fact that a Keyword Search requires its variables to be Case Sensitive, with a slight difference in variable naming convention... much of the rest of these search functions are identical.

The results from a Keyword Search displays a larger thumbnail, and a Refine Search box, while the benefits of a Title Search is the ability to return 250 results per page instead of just 50 (&count=250), and a few other minor details.

But what I really want to identify is the difference between a Feature Film "feature" and a Feature Film "movie" as they are defined between these two different search engines.  Most films overlap between these two categories, while 10 to 20 percent do not.

Anyone?
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raccoon

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Posted 6 months ago

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Photo of Ed Jones(XLIX)

Ed Jones(XLIX)

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Yeah.
Both searches leave a lot to be desired.
Want better results use google search to search IMDb. The results seem better.
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raccoon

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thanks for the obligatory non-answer.
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Ed Jones(XLIX)

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Well I make Polls here.
The search function within the database is crap.
Google is far more precise.
Plus keyword searches are useless as the submission and acceptance of arbitrary keywords on titles is out of control.
Garbage "In" the database....Garbage replies out!
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Ed Jones(XLIX)

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Example:
I want movies with gunfighters.
Gunfighters usually refers to western shoot-em-up gunfighters.
But Noooooo.
Look at this.
Titles with no guns at all!!!
They have Laser pistols and Light Sabres.

This is the garbage keyword issue within the database.
There are many that laboriously go through this database weeding out arbitrarily submitted and incorrectly accepted keywords that do not relate at all to the title. But they are but a handful vs. thousands that submit junk keywords.
Keyword searches are useless.

The first five gunfighter movies only yield one correct gunfighter title.
The Magnificent Seven


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raccoon

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Great, but tell me what the difference between a "feature" Feature Film, and a "movie" Feature Film is.

Tell me why these two searches for "Adult" genre return different search results.

https://www.imdb.com/search/keyword/?genres=Adult
33 titles.

https://www.imdb.com/search/title/?genres=Adult
63 titles.
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Ed Jones(XLIX)

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I cannot.
I have just explained that the database search is useless. It's programming has been done by a group of individuals over a long period of time and may have numerous software patches. I doubt that anyone can answer this.
An employee named Steve may be able to shed light on this and an ex employee named Owen Rees might see this and provide a technical reply.
But suffice it to say that you are less, rather than more likely to get an actual reply that makes sense.
I am just replying from over 15 years of using the database that the searches have deteriorated to the point of uselessness.
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bderoes, Champion

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Using the Refine options on this list (yet another way to access "search" capabilities):
https://www.imdb.com/list/ls007035631/?title_type=movie&keywords=singer
(notice it translated the checkbox label "feature" into title_type "movie")
found 542 titles.

But using ATS,
https://www.imdb.com/search/title/?title_type=feature&keywords=singer&lists=ls007035631
found 533 titles.
Unfortunately, keyword search doesn't recognize the list selection parameter.

Here are the 9 titles from the longer list, all documentaries:
Becoming Traviata (2012)
Every Little Step (2008)
Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl (1982)
Standing in the Shadows of Motown (2002)
That's Dancing! (1985)
That's Entertainment! (1974)
That's Entertainment! III (1994)
That's Entertainment, Part II (1976)
Wagner's Dream (2012)

(Side note: very annoying that the 2 searches alphabetize differently. Something about foreign films, and/or alternate titles in general.)

So, I suspect that the quantitative difference you mentioned in the root post is that "movie" includes "documentary", and "feature" does not.


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raccoon

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Huh, well that was a nice theory, but it doesn't seem to pan.  You'll have to tell me more about your List Search, I'm unfamiliar with those.

But If a KeywordSearch type of movie were the same as a TitleSearch type of feature,documentary then I would expect the two to have the same number of results, but they do not.  Yet, a (non obvious) TitleSearch of type movie will indeed return the same number of results.

https://www.imdb.com/search/title/?title_type=feature,documentary
https://www.imdb.com/search/keyword/?title_type=movie
https://www.imdb.com/search/title/?title_type=movie

So, it still isn't clear what exactly a "movie" title_type is, besides a "Feature Film" by some other definition.

Do you happen to know of a way to view a movie's page and glean the title_types it has?  I can't seem to find or edit the title_types of an IMDb entry.
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bderoes, Champion

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Interesting that title search works at all for "movie".
https://www.imdb.com/search/title/?title_type=movie
535,449 titles
https://www.imdb.com/search/keyword/?title_type=movie
535,462 titles
Nowhere near a 10-20% difference.

https://www.imdb.com/search/title/?title_type=feature
433,331 titles
https://www.imdb.com/search/title/?title_type=documentary
284,805 titles
And 433,331+284,805=718,136

So "movie" is more than "feature", but less than "feature" + "documentary".
But 
https://www.imdb.com/search/title/?title_type=movie,!documentary
(movie, but not doc'y)
433,331 titles
The same count as just "feature".

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Peter, Champion

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title_type=documentary seems to include not only features, but also shorts, videos, TV movies etc. (but not TV series/episodes)
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raccoon

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whoa!  I did not know you could do !exclusion searches by with the bang prefix!  I'm going to have to test your theory, that's wild.  So these two are equal count:

https://www.imdb.com/search/title/?title_type=feature
https://www.imdb.com/search/title/?title_type=movie,!documentary

And yeah, I'm not sure why "movie" is returning a slightly different count, but I'm going to guess it has to do with database caching at different times on the server end.  I get the same behavior with any similar searches between Title and Keyword search engines.  It's only ever off by 15 to 40 results, so each search engine must be using its own cached copy of the database that's updated periodically.

https://www.imdb.com/search/title/?title_type=movie
https://www.imdb.com/search/keyword/?title_type=movie

https://www.imdb.com/search/title/?title_type=short
https://www.imdb.com/search/keyword/?title_type=short

https://www.imdb.com/search/title/?genres=animation
https://www.imdb.com/search/keyword/?genres=Animation
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raccoon

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I guess this is why the Keyword Search eliminates the Documentary title_type, but doesn't necessarily explain why or to what exact nuance.  Any relationship between Genre or the "Documentary" Keyword perhaps?  A "Special Keyword"?
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bderoes, Champion

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I'm not sure of this, but I believe there once was only the keyword, and later the title_type for doc'y. The database has been scrubbed to the extent that no Feature film title_type has genre Documentary:
https://www.imdb.com/search/title/?title_type=feature&genres=documentary
No results.